Saturday, June 28, 2014

Compromise Resolves Controversy

"Compromise works well in this world when you have shared goals."
--.Jim DeMint--

Although Senator Jim DeMint is a American politician, which we all know are bad at compromising, Senator DeMint's statement on compromise should be the mission statement of every marriage. You and your spouse are a team: you need to compromise! When you get married to someone, you are joined in the common cause of you both having a rich and blessed life together. If you get married under the impression that the other person will make all of your dreams possible and will live to make each and every single one of your desires come true, well... you are setting yourself up for a gigantic failure and disappointment. You can, however, know that you and your spouse are committed to solving problems and working through life's issues together for the benefit of the both of you. 

Conflict is human nature. It's how a married couple resolves conflict that is divine. If done correctly, solving conflict in marriage is something that can bring you and your spouse great satisfaction and intense feelings of love. What can possibly be more exciting than solving a daunting challenge with the love of your life? Absolutely nothing!

The issue with conflict resolution in marriage is that people are often too set in their ways. and opinions "It's my way or the highway," as the old saying goes. You may have your perfect image of what your spouse should be like, where you should live, what you are going to do with your life, what your house will be like, who you are going to visit during the holidays, and who is going to do the dirty laundry. Throw out your preconceived notions of what your life and your marriage will be like right now and know that only two things in your relationship are certain: God's love for you and your commitment as a couple. 

Dr. Gary Chapman's book on conflict resolution, Everybody Wins, is one of my favorite books to read and one of the books I recommend every couple reads. The knowledge in this tiny book is immense and easy to understand. If you can apply the information in this book like Marisa and I strive to do every day, you can find that your conflicts bring as much joy as your agreements because you know that you can conquer the conflict with your partner. 

Dr. Chapman's book talks about one couple who had a serious conflict in their marriage over what color to paint the bathroom of their new home, a conflict that brought the couple to Dr. Chapman because they were both angered by the disagreement and considering ending their marriage. Through Dr. Chapman's strategies on listening and compromise, the pair agreed to a unique compromise: they would paint one wall of the bathroom the color the wife wanted and the other wall the color the husband wanted. The couple was ecstatic about their solution and was thrilled to tell friends and visitors the story of their great compromise when asked about their unique bathroom design. 

Conflicts can be major, like choosing what city to live in after getting married, or minor, like where to east out for a date. It's important to treat each conflict seriously though because you never know how much blowing off a minor conflict or belittling your spouse in a minor argument can hurt your relationship. Marisa and I had a minor conflict today when we were choosing where to eat out, but we solved it because we didn't want our food choices to impact our love and commitment to each other. By working together, we actually strengthened our relationship and love for one another.  

Compromise can lead to what you want and happiness!
After an day in Houston filled with visiting a Hindu temple, learning about world cultures, and swimming, we were both pretty hungry. Since I am from Arizona originally, I cannot get enough of Whataburger! That restaurant is so amazing. I really was wanting to get a burger, fries, and Strawberry Fanta soda as I always do. So, for the umpteenth time, I told Marisa we should go to Whataburger. She was not very keen on that suggestion because of how unhealthy it is and how many times she has eaten there as a native Houstonian. She suggested a kind of pricy-ish Mediterranean buffet. I was not really going to argue with her on this issue anyways, but while I went to get a glass of water, she was searching on yelp and found a place called M&M grill that was close to where I live. The Ms stand for "Mexican and Mediterranean." We looked at their menu and saw that I could get a hamburger and Marisa could get the shawarma she wanted. We agreed to go to M&M which made us both very happy and more in love with each other because we both got what we wanted, more or less, and we solved another conflict together! This conflict could have easily gotten out of hand if either of us felt like our suggestions about where we wanted to eat devalued the other person's opinion and desires. Thankfully, Marisa and I make compromise a key ingredient of our successful relationships. 

While conflicts are not always this simple, it's important to always be ready to resolve conflicts by compromising. You are not always going to get your way, and often you'll find it's more rewarding to compromise a little bit and make your spouse happy. Whenever you and your spouse enter a conflict, always embrace the attitude of Proverbs 15:1, A gentle answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger. You'll find that your harsh words and stubbornness is never the answer, but compromise is!

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